Disbanding a Very Small Scouts BSA Troop

A Question about Disbanding a Small Scout Troop

Dianne sent in this question:

My son has been in a very small Scouts BSA Troop for 2 years now. We started with about 20 scouts, and now here are only 9 active scouts. Most have earned their Eagle rank and left. We haven’t had any new recruits.

Our scoutmaster had a meeting to discuss the fact that the boys’ scouting experience is very limited because of the troop’s size and suggested that the scouts transfer to another troop. All the scouts said that they wanted to stay in their troop and maintain troop meetings and activities while the leaders worked on a growth plan to recruit more scouts.

A few days later the scoutmaster sent out an email to all the parents saying that he was suspending all troop meetings and activities and recommended that everyone find another troop. My son and several of the scouts do not want to go to another troop. They like their small troop and the friendships they have made. They feel that they want to preserve the troop’s legacy as well since it is the oldest troop in our district and has been around for over 45 years.

Does the scoutmaster have the authority to suspend meetings and activities like that? What if the scouts oppose to his decision, can the SPL resume meetings and activities without the scoutmaster’s approval? I would appreciate any feedback on this. Thanks.

A Small Scout Troop Can Work

Thanks for the question. First of all, it is possible for a very small troop to have a good program. But one of the most common problems in a small Scout troop like this is that the pool of adult leaders is very small, but if the parents are all willing to dig in and fill all of the adult leadership roles it can work.

Disband or New Scoutmaster?

The Scoutmaster is appointed by the troop committee with the approval of the chartered organization.  So my suggestion would be that the committee recruit a new Scoutmaster to keep the troop together if the parents are really behind the idea.  If somebody steps in and offers to take over that role, perhaps the current Scoutmaster would see that in a positive light.  If you have not done so already, meet with your troop committee and discuss this with them.  The committee will make the decision whether or not to recharter the troop for the next year.

If nobody else is willing to be Scoutmaster, than the issue could be that the current Scoutmaster does not have enough adult support to provide what he feels is an appropriate and meaningful program. In that case he might be correct that the Scouts would have a better experience in a different troop.

What Do You Think?

Readers, what do you think about a small Scout troop? Add your comment.
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What do you think about a small Scout troop?x

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36 responses to “Disbanding a Very Small Scouts BSA Troop”

  1. Stephen Cerruti Avatar
    Stephen Cerruti

    The comment from the letter that struck me most was, “All the scouts said that they wanted to stay in their troop and maintain troop meetings and activities while the leaders worked on a growth plan to recruit more scouts.”

    Why are the plans to recruit more scouts in the hands of the leaders. If the existing scouts want the troop to stay then they need to get out and beat the bushes and get more boys into scouting. More boys means more adults and thus more adult volunteers.

    While a Troop can operate with only 9 scouts, the concern of the scouts “to preserve the troop’s legacy as well since it is the oldest troop in our district and has been around for over 45 years” can not be assured with 9 scouts of similar age.

    In conjunction with your recommendation to evaluate the need for a new Scoutmaster, the SPL should immediately ask each scout to bring two friends to a special troop meeting, not to join, just to see what they have to offer. Focus on scout skills and telling the troops history and see what happens from there.

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar

      That’s a great point. Adults can plan all of the recruiting events they like. But in my experience, the most effective recruiting happens when a bunch of 12 year old boys are sitting at the lunch table just talking about their last campout. Suddenly one of their friends who isn’t in the troop thinks that it sounds like fun and wants to come check it out.

    2. Dan Avatar
      Dan

      I know this is an old topic, but close to me so i’m chiming in. I was a scout master of a shrinking troop which decided to disband. Due to changing demographics in the area cub scout packs and boy scout troops have been shrinking for probably the last 5 years. What was once a heavily young family area has aged and is mixed between retired people and families. It used to be that every elementary school had a pack. Now we see packs based out of churches that serve 2 to 3 elementary schools each and some of them struggle. All the packs in our area were crossing over about 6 or 8 scouts a year combined to about 5 troops in mile radius.

      We were down to 6 scouts. Three older and three younger. Since some were siblings, that means a very small pool of adults to drive, provide leadership at camp outs, and contribute time for things like summer camp. Look around your area and you might find the same issues. In our area there are many small troops and packs. Some are growing by absorbing people as others close. In our case we had another troop just across the street who had already absorbed a few scouts from closed troops. . The scouts are having a great time with a troop that has resources to do more.

      To the poster that was upset about legacy, our troop was 40 years old. So are others, it really doesn’t matter. Its what is best for the scouts that matters.

      To the people worried about the scout master’s authority. Many scout masters of small troops are guys that stick around after their kids are gone from scouts because there aren’t enough adults to make it work otherwise. Its not really a matter of authority. When your best experienced and trained leader says its just not working, you should listen. If you listen and still want to try, you are free to take over.

      1. nancy casler Avatar
        nancy casler

        I agree. I’m the commitee chairman, the wolf and bear den leader and basically the main person for our cub scout pack. I took over after the adults that were running it left it in the hands of two fathers who were “lost” I prefer to not be doing this any more as I”m retired and live 60 miles from my pack now. But this would leave my two grandsons without a pack, so I drive there at least once a week. We do get new leaders but lose them when their sons become boy scouts. Hoping to age out myself soon. Our pack has been around for about 70 years. Our community is heavily involvd in drama, sports, music, interschool educational competetion, and other outside adventages that really involve the community making scouts just on too many things.

    3. Ed Ferron Avatar
      Ed Ferron

      I agree that the scouts need to be part of the recruiting. I am the Cubmaster of what was a failing cub scout pack. We used the last 4 cubs we had to start recruiting other scouts and we grew from 4 cubs to 28 in only two years which is a huge increase for our sparsely populated rural area. We set up tables at school registration nights and had the scouts there to tell potential recruits how much fun they have in scouts and we offer prizes to scouts who bring a friend to the first 4 meetings of the month. Making the simple change from having adults recruit to having the scouts recruit has allowed us to continue and grow our program.

      Like many other small units we have trouble recruiting leaders but what we have found is that as we gain more scouts we always get the additional leadership that we need. When the scouts come so do the leaders though it make take a little prodding and pushing to get the new leaders to step forward.

  2. Priscilla Avatar
    Priscilla

    I think it is unfair to ask the leader to continue. The boys should just agree to all join the same troop and then they can continue those friendships and find new friendships. Yes it will be a different experience, but there will probably be some pluses to it.

  3. Christine Avatar
    Christine

    I would like to emphasize this part of Scouter Mom’s reply, “The Scoutmaster is appointed by the troop committee with the approval of the chartered organization.” As such, the Scoutmaster does NOT have the authority to disband the troop. However, there must be adults who step up to help supervise in order to actually have meetings and activities.

    There are only two authorities who can disband the troop, one is the Charter Organization. Who is the CO and how involved are they in the troop? Some are strong supporters who would be quite upset to learn that the Scoutmaster has made these statements. Some have no clue that they have any authority over the troop and may only be vaguely aware that they are some Boy Scouts who meet in their building. Either way they must be involved in any disbanding because they own all the assets of the troop, the bank account, the equipment etc. and these things can’t just be disposed of.

    The other authority who can disband a troop is the BSA council. They generally will not recharter a troop if it drops below 5 registered scouts or 5 registered adults.

    If the boys who are in the troop want to stay, their parents need step up to support them and the troop. If the Scoutmaster is burned out and done, let him go. Find a new one from among the parents/grandparents/etc. of the boys who remain, and persevere. Make sure as many possible of the remaining parents get trained and network with other Scout leaders so they know why the troop is floundering in the first place and what can be done to recruit new boys and retain the ones they have. Find the resources that are available in your area for leader training and networking. If you don’t know, find the answers to the following questions…

    Who is our Unit Commissioner? This is an experienced Scout volunteer whose job it is to mentor Scout units and help them resolve problems. Every unit should have one. In the absence of one being assigned to you, the District Commissioner, who oversees all the Unit Commissioners is responsible.

    When and where is the District Roundtable? This is a monthly meeting where Scouters get together and share information about activities, events, policies and problem solving ideas.

    When is the next training? This question can be answered by your Unit Commissioner, at the Roundtable meeting or may be posted on a District or Council website somewhere.

    1. TLK Avatar
      TLK

      Well said Christine! I have been seeing more and more units in this position where everyone in the unit thinks that the cubmaster or scoutmaster runs the unit, because that is who has been doing it. These units need to get back into the basics and provide or send leaders to training again so they know what their position is supposed to do so that they can start doing it…… My unit has been going through the same thing the past 2 years after our previous Committee Chair stepped down, cubmaster covered while we searched for a new one and once we found one the new CC he continued to let the Cubmaster do all the work…..now that CC has stepped down after the Pack Trainer emailed all leaders the position descriptions of all positions. I am assuming he didn’t like his position desription as he hadn’t been doing any of it since he began. So time to reorganize, recruit and rebuild.

  4. Percy Avatar
    Percy

    9 is still a great number!
    Our troop started with 6 and regularly numbers from 12-18.
    Alot of boys do not want to get lost in a big troop, so I see no reason they should leave.
    Plan some kind of super fun outdoor activity and have every Scout bring someone.
    It is easy to plan amazing events and trips for 9.

  5. Scoutmaster Shawn Avatar

    The SM should have taken steps to either find someone to replace him, or the CC or CR should have stepped in and taken over. If there is a complete lack of leadership, and the SM, although not “BSA-legal”, is the head of the troop, then he would be the default leader to call it all off.

    *The statement is used in the event the CC, CR and CO are just signatures and could care less.

    Recruitment, for the most part, has to start with the adults. Now, Scout sitting around the table, talking about the latest adventure, is a great tool, the adults steer that ship. The prospect has to get a ride to the meeting. He has to buy into the program and get parents to sign the application and drop the money for dues, gear and uniform. The parents will want to know the who, what, when, where, why and how’s. In the case of boys new to Boy Scouting, the adults must absolutely sell the program. The prospect’s parents don’t understand Boy-Led and the youth leaders, aren’t going to be able to explain the monetary and time commitments to the parents, the adult leaders are.

    It sounds like the SM is no longer committed to the program. If the CO and the committee care about the program, they will step in and take the reins and turn the program around with the help of Commissioners and the District folks.

    As a parent of the Scouts that want to stay in the troop, one of them needs to step up, and not complain about the unit folding. If their sons want the troop to survive, that duty falls on the parents of those Scouts to step up and take control.

    Honestly, if a SM plays this card, wish him farewell and good luck. Then, the unit can get back to Scouting.

  6. ABC Avatar
    ABC

    It seems to me, while reading this, that the parents want to force the SM to continue doing this job. It sounds like he is tired and burnt out. It is easy to call on legalities while sitting in the sidelines.

    My question to the parent is this: are YOU willing to step up run the troop? Are YOU willing to organize recruiting events? Are YOU willing to do the millions of things that need done behind the scenes to ensure that the troop is running smoothly?

    If the parents want the troop to continue, then please step up and make sure it does.

  7. Scott Avatar
    Scott

    The Scoutmaster, from experience, is more frustrated than any of the parents. There are several areas that need to be addressed. The first being the commitment of the parents. If they were involved, the program would not be an issue. Another being the Cub Scout Pack. Why aren’t the Webelos crossing to the troop. Lastly, where is the CO in all of this. Without their support, the troop is doomed for failure no matter how hard the Scoutmaster tries.

    1. Jerry Schleining Avatar
      Jerry Schleining

      Scott,
      Not sure (by the tone of your comment) if you are connected to this Troop or not, but to blame the parents and the Pack are not the solution.
      The Scoutmaster and Committee Chair should be addressing both of those issues. The Committee chair should be dealing with parents and their level of involvement. The Scoutmaster should be reaching out the local Packs and not waiting for them.
      They are not crossing over because they recognize a Troop that is not delivering the promise of Scouting from what it looks like on the internet.
      To blame anyone is not a fix. But based on the initial letter, it is clear that this Scoutmaster is not doing his job.

      1. B.E.Scouter Avatar
        B.E.Scouter

        I have been in scouting for over 32 yrs and held nearly every position in scouting. I am curious if any of the replies here are actually from those of us who served as scoutmaster. I was scoutmaster for 18 of my 32 yrs of service to my unit, district and council. I am currently a committee member of our unit. We are down to 18 boys on our charter with about 12 active scouts. Out of 18 scouts only the scoutmaster has a son in the program. All other male leaders are former eagles or scouts of the unit. We have been asking for help for over a year and not one dad has stepped up to be an asst. SM. Sometimes a trip is cancelled because we need drivers or a second leader. We struggle to keep the troop together but parents choose to take their son to another troop than step forward to help.

        We are a boy led troop yet the boys sometimes do not support their program they selected by not attending the trips. If the scoutmaster in this thread has the same issues and no support from parents then I see why he could get frustrated.

        We just had this discussion tonight after our mtg. We are all fed up begging for help that never steps forward. Scouting is not always like the internet. A small unit cannot offer what a large unit can so Webelos go to the larger unit I guess so the parents won’t feel obligated to be asked to do something. The use of the word burnt out is amusing as I can see none of these folks ever held the position. A scoutmaster can’t do it alone and they easily get disappointed in lack of help but don’t confuse it with burning out. Instead of bashing those in position look in the mirror to the person who can help and step up to the plate. If you’re not involved you have no right judging others who are there giving of their time for your son.

  8. G. Stiltner Avatar
    G. Stiltner

    A small scout Troop can function and function quite well. We restarted our Troop several years ago with only seven boys then we grew to 18 then fell back to 6 after the first fedw camp outs. We have just recently recruited more boys. One of our recruiting issues was our Pack and Troop Did not meet at the same location 2 years ago we combined two packs in our area and they became chartered by the same CO now as the pack grows so does the troop. As our older boys make Eagle and Age out we are having younger boys cross over. We are still small an average of 10 boys but that’s not a bad thing because of those 10 boys we also have 10 parents that stay active with their kids. They need to get a new Scoutmaster as this one is either burnt out or has lost interest altogether.

  9. Jerry Schleining Avatar
    Jerry Schleining

    Get a new Scoutmaster. It’s that simple. The Scoutmaster works for the Boys and at the bidding of the committee and CO.
    The one they have now is not delivering the promise of Scouting and therefore must go.
    Now.. I would add that there must be some other issues in the Troop that are not being told.
    Have not recruited in 2 years? Something is wrong there. A Troop can not out recruit it’s losses. If the backdoor is wide open and Scouts are leaving there is a reason for that. Is there a Den Chief program in place? Are the Assistant Scoutmasters reaching out to multiple Packs to see what the Troop can do to help. Recruiting is an everyone issue and that seems to be a big part of this Troops problems.
    All the Eagles are flying away? Something is wrong there. Why are they not staying. I would certainly look into that.
    But by and large a great start would be with the Scoutmaster.
    Hate to sound mean, but it’s all about the Scouts and not the Scoutmaster.
    Have a Great Scouting Day!

  10. Sandra Avatar
    Sandra

    I feel your pain. We lived this exact scenario several years ago. Our Scoutmaster had had enough. He was tired of being the main person at all campouts. We tried very hard to recruit with Packs stating, yup we are crossing to you. Only to back out at Blue and Gold. We were a small Troop and all parents were doing stuff but we needed more as we still had past Eagle parents running the Committee. We had 6-12 scouts. 90% boys were from a different city then where the Troop was so we didn’t know where to recruit. By the time we were figuring out it was too late.
    *First you need to speak to your District Commissioner and find out what schools or areas you can recruit from.
    *Have an Open House and show why boys should be joining your Troop.
    *Fliers at the schools and library and local churches as well to let Boys know your Troop is there.
    *Find someone to be Scoutmaster and get their training ASAP.
    Good luck. Our Troop did fold after being the oldest in the area and having very good retention of boys to Eagle. The boys went to several different Troops and made Eagle elsewhere so don’t give up the dream no matter what.

  11. Miss B. Avatar
    Miss B.

    Diane,
    My sons Cubmaster announced he was steeping down, 6 months before the end of the current scouting year. I expected him to step down, as his son is moving onto Boy Scouts. The packs committee has disbanded, as we do not have the adult support necessary to maintain the pack. Our chartering organization has also chartered with another Cub Scout Pack recently. The leadership discussed merging in the past, but considering there are no committee or leadership meetings it has not been currently discussed.
    I made a decision to find a new pack for my own child when the Cubmaster made his announcement. Being a single parent I wanted my son to have a male role model, and being his Den Leader was not providing him that role model. The pack was being held together by a fray stringed as it was. I found a pack with a male den leader, and my son enjoys going to Scouts now. It is a larger Den (8 boys), and the pack goes camping and overnights, something he did not do with the other pack.
    It is hard to run a unit when you do not have adult support. There are required positions, and those positions are difficult to fill. Most parents move on with their children, and when recruiting is not successful it puts the unit on the chopping block. In my sons new unit I have already volunteered for a position because it is now a required position, and the pack did not have any other volunteers.
    The families that remain in my sons former unit do not want to merge with the other pack. Honestly I think it would be the best solution to the lack of leadership problem the unit has had for 3 years now. The town has 4 cub scouts packs, and all 4 units have seen a significant decline in enrollment. A decline in enrollment also means there is a decline in adult participation, and adults available to volunteer. Whatever they choose to do is their own decision. I know that going to another unit was in my sons best interest.
    If your Scouts want to stay, then finding a new Scoutmaster is the best solution. Reach out to your Unit Commissioner if your committee does not have a solution. If they are unable to help you reach out to your District Commissioner. A unit without a Cubmaster or Scoutmaster is a unit in crisis.

  12. Shannon Avatar
    Shannon

    I’m the Scoutmaster in a small unit of 6 Scouts, with the hope of 2 new crossovers this month.
    We are in a small town 30plus miles from the nearest Troop. It has been an uphill challenge to keep our Troop going because of the small numbers. Last year we had 4 Scouts earn their Eagle and take off. The year before that we had 5 Eagles go. Now we are left with 12 and 13 year olds with no older Scouts to show them the ropes and it and in some ways it feels more like a Webelo Pack instead of Scouts. Very difficult to have a boy led Troop with the young ones. Chaos can be part of it, but so far we’ve stuck it out.
    This is my 2nd year as Scoutmaster, and there have been many times I’ve thought about quitting. The only reason I’ve stayed is because my son in one of the Scouts. One of the biggest challenges of a small Troop is the lack of local support and funding. It’s really hard for the boys to raise money in a small town. Most of what we get is out of pocket(mine and assistant leaders) but that gets old and costly at times. This is a poor town too. There are only so many fund raisers the boys can do and too few boys to help out if some can’t do it. That being said, I think it will work out if we stick to it, but it shouldn’t have to be this hard.
    Heck, as long as we have boys here that want to go camping, hiking, and enjoy Scoutcraft, etc. I’ll keep on.

    1. Edwina Avatar
      Edwina

      Shannon, I applaud your willingness to keep going with your troop, even with the problem of finances. Our family has been members of several different packs and troops through the years. Even when there was a problem with finances in our group’s circle, we were able to find ways to finance our boys without the leaders having to shoulder most of the bill. There are still ways to get help with both funds and materials within a community that thinks it can’t afford to support the scouting program. I’ve found the biggest thing is to point out that they aren’t supporting a scout group, but are helping with the next generation of young men! Whether I was asking for help with materials or funds to purchase something our group needed, I usually tried to make my requests once a year instead of several times a year and was more successful. That meant planning out the entire future year and figuring out everything we would need. Then, I would take the entire list with me, along with a photo of our group so people would have a better idea of actually who they were supporting. I have been a WEBELOs leader, advancement chair, committee chair, and scout master (never more than one position at a time of course!), but in each and every position I needed to seek help from the families and community for support. I rarely did all the support myself though. I think it would have led to my burnout quickly if it did since I was a single mother during most of these positions.

  13. Nomar Martinez Avatar
    Nomar Martinez

    Hello scouters,
    Some like these happened in our troop when I start with my son in Troop 12 of Levittown, Puerto Rico.
    I was a Life Scout when I was young and now I start a comeback with my son. With only 11 active scout and four of them where Second Class Rank and three were Life Scouts, the rest with no ranks recently in the troop. We re-charter in 2014 with a new Scoutmaster that have new fresh ideas and visions. He starts the recruiting service using the Merit badge of Robotics. Today we have all scouts (14) with the merit badge. Starts with the Majagüa District, a recruiting program, to increase the scout’s members. The innovative concept goes at the level that our District saw our way to catch attention and gave us the opportunity to make a presentation in the district round table, to show how to motivate new scouts in the program and how to teach scout leaders to provoke a blast of recruiting. Today we have Robotic Counselor (Techno Inventor of Puerto Rico) approved by BSA Council, that teach the Robotic Merit badge to all of our district units. Basically the program show a power point presentation with the assembly process in arming the robots using EDGE Method. Then transfer from PC to robot command unit and then operates the robot with a remote control, doing skills related to scouts. Example: cut a rope with a pocket knife attach to the robot chassis. When is cut, released a rubber band that throws a projectile to the target. All operation seen via cellphone that sent Wi-Fi video of the actions from the robot. A Video remote control operation, programmed, assembled arm and calibrated by youth scout. This is more enthusiast than a video game in their houses, shooting zombies. We provoke innovation to create applications that motivate kids to no limits, the imagination is the limit. They used infrared sensor, proximity sensors, direct command controls, Wi-Fi video communications, pulleys operations, motor drives controls etc.

  14. danny Avatar
    danny

    im a scout and i swithced to a larger troop and its way better in the long run.

  15. JTJ Avatar
    JTJ

    Do not disband your Boy Scout troop.
    Go to your district round table and tell them you need help.
    Ask your boy scout district executive for help.
    Ask your district commissioner for help.
    Ask your scout executive for help.

    You may have to double up with another troop until your troop is revived.

    Saving a Boy Scout troop is a very rewarding experience.

  16. Edwina Avatar
    Edwina

    Instead of ending a really great scouting experience for these boys in the troop they love, I would suggest finding another small troop in the area and making arrangements to do SOME activities together, like some but not all of the camping.For some of the activities you could even see if one of the packs in your area would like to come too.

    The boys and the committee should also step up and take control of helping to enlarging the troop. Between the boys inviting their friends to activities to having an activity in the community showing how much fun is involved in scouting, there’s no reason why a pack or troop shouldn’t be able to enlarge a group IF they really want to. Maybe put on a display at a community activity or a parade float to name a few things that can be done.

    Maybe, the committee needs to also have a talk with the scout master, to find out if he’s burned out, feels like he isn’t getting the support he needs, or if there isn’t some other personal problem that he feels he isn’t able to continue working with the boys at this time. It could be that someone else may have to step and let the scout master take a break for a while or just stop being the leader. There are all kinds of help available for leaders as people have pointed out.

  17. Brownie Avatar
    Brownie

    Our troop had a similar issue because the adults used the meetings as a social club and ignored the boys. I got involved as a former Eagle Scout and at the time I was 19. With the help of a few parents we saved the troop. It now has a cub pack with 40 boys…a sea ship unit with 15 mixed youth and the troop has 75 boys and 30 adults. With a little guidance you can save your troop. We are over 70 years old now. I’m 40 now and still work with the unit. We have over 205 Eagle Scouts and going strong. Don’t let one guy ruin the programs your boys love. He may be burned out and need relief.

  18. TessT Avatar
    TessT

    Scouts masters are volunteers. They absolutely can decide to stop being the Scout master. I am not sure why anyone would question this. The parents of the boys in the troop should thank him for the time that he spent leading the troop; and then one of those parents should step up to volunteer their time for this. Parents need to stop taking volunteers for granted. I was a girl scout troop leader last year, and won’t be doing it again due to ungrateful parents who whined and complained about everything. REMEMBER TO ALWAY SAY THANK YOU.

  19. Familytreeclimber Avatar
    Familytreeclimber

    I was first introduced to Scouting abt 25 years ago, when my 33 year old son started in Cub Scouts in our church’s scouting program. Over the years, I have been asked to do a lot of different positions within both the pack and troop. I’ve even gotten a troop at my son’s school restarted after it disbanded years ago when I was frustrated with the way my oldest son’s troop at church really wasn’t doing much scouting, becoming the scout master within the school’s scouting program. Sometimes, I’ve been really frustrated that I couldn’t be more involved in our scout group and was given the impression my involvement wasn’t wanted at all, since I was a mom instead of a dad!
    I have also had the frustration, as a leader of having parents who I have to beg and plead to do scout requirements with their sons too. Then, the last couple years we’ve only had two boys listed in our pack, with only one really active! We still kept our pack going with only one boy involved though. To me, it’s worth keeping going even if we only have one boy interested and who loves doing the activities in scouting! We’ve worked hard and tried several activities to introduce more boys to try scouting with our pack. From having the boys invite their friends to our group, to finding other ways to encourage boys to try Scouting, like inviting boys to our Blue and Gold Banquet who are almost old enough to start Cub Scouts, which is actually the best thing we’ve tried to date. Now, the boys and their families are excitedly looking forward to starting within the next few months! Not always am I told “Thank you” by the parents or the boys, but the look on the boys faces when they try something new and enjoy doing is often the next best thing. This year, I’ve been very lucky because the parents have actually been thanking me for the time I’ve spent doing activities with both the pack and troop!
    My advice would be to have a parent meeting during the same time the boys are having their meeting and require the parents to be there. I’ve done this several times, usually once a year. I usually make arrangements for an all day Saturday, round robin style activity for the boys, using members of the committee to help, while I spent time with the parents explaining the need for them to be involved in the program. Many times, the parents don’t even know they are able to sign off on activities in either their boy’s Cub or Boy Scout books, let alone how much their boys would enjoy their involvement in camping activities! I also explain how much their involvement is required to make the program a success, that we can’t do it all on our own, that two leaders can’t and won’t do it all! Many times, we’ve already got the next several months activities planned with signup lists made, which I’ll send around and ask the parents to sign up to help with each of those activities, explaining that if we don’t have enough help for each activity, that we won’t be able to do those activities. (I purposefully have a couple extra blanks for each activity to take care of the one or two parents who have something pop up at the last minute and can’t or won’t come.) Also, explaining that if the boys can’t do those activities, that their sons won’t be able to advance in rank, which many of the parents want their sons to do or the boys themselves want to do.
    Lastly, try inviting grandparents to activities and think of the possibility they might have the time and experience to be involved with your troop or pack. Many grandparents today are even raising their grandchildren, so why can’t some of them help keep your group going? Right now, our youngest son is actually in Boy Scouts and I’m the Cub master of our pack, with no boys in our family involved! My oldest grandson is excitedly looking forward to becoming a wolf later this year and his grammie being his leader, just like I was his dad’s leader years ago. In fact, he was one of the boys we invited to our Blue and Gold Banquet a couple weeks ago.

  20. Familytreeclimber Avatar
    Familytreeclimber

    I was first introduced to Scouting abt 25 years ago, when my 33 year old son started in Cub Scouts in our church’s scouting program. Over the years, I have been asked to do a lot of different positions within both the pack and troop. I’ve even gotten a troop at my son’s school restarted after it disbanded years ago when I was frustrated with the way my oldest son’s troop at church really wasn’t doing much scouting, becoming the scout master within the school’s scouting program. Sometimes, I’ve been really frustrated that I couldn’t be more involved in our scout group and was given the impression my involvement wasn’t wanted at all, since I was a mom instead of a dad!
    I have also had the frustration, as a leader of having parents who I have had to beg and plead to do scout requirements with their sons too. Then, the last couple years we’ve only had two boys listed in our pack, with only one really active! We still kept our pack going with only one boy involved though. To me, it’s worth keeping going even if we only have one boy interested and who loves doing the activities in scouting! We’ve worked hard and tried several activities to introduce more boys to try scouting with our pack. From having the boys invite their friends to our group, to finding other ways to encourage boys to try Scouting, like inviting boys to our Blue and Gold Banquet who are almost old enough to start Cub Scouts, which is actually the best thing we’ve tried to date. Now, the boys and their families are excitedly looking forward to starting within the next few months! Not always am I told “Thank you” by the parents or the boys for that matter, but the look on the boys faces when they try something new and enjoy doing the activity is often the next best thing. This year, I’ve been very lucky because the parents have actually been thanking me for the time I’ve spent doing activities with both the pack and troop!
    My advice would be to have a parent meeting during the same time the boys are having their meeting and require the parents to be there. I’ve done this several times, usually once a year. I usually make arrangements for an all day Saturday, round robin style activity for the boys, using members of the committee to help, while I spent time with the parents explaining the need for them to be involved in the program. Many times, the parents don’t even know they are able to sign off on activities in either their boy’s Cub or Boy Scout books, let alone how much their boys would enjoy their involvement in camping activities! I also explain how much their involvement is required to make the program a success, that we can’t do it all on our own, that two leaders can’t and won’t do it all! Many times, we’ve already got the next several months activities planned with signup lists made, which I’ll send around and ask the parents to sign up to help with each of those activities, explaining that if we don’t have enough help for each activity, that we won’t be able to do those activities. (I purposefully have a couple extra blanks for each activity to take care of the one or two parents who have something pop up at the last minute and can’t or won’t come.) Also, explaining that if the boys can’t do those activities, that their sons won’t be able to advance in rank, which many of the parents want their sons to do or the boys themselves want to do.
    Lastly, try inviting grandparents to activities and think of the possibility they might have the time and experience to be involved with your troop or pack. Many grandparents today are even raising their grandchildren, so why can’t some of them help keep your group going? Right now, our youngest son is actually in Boy Scouts and I’m the Cub master of our pack, with no boys in our family involved! My oldest grandson is excitedly looking forward to becoming a wolf later this year and his grammie being his leader, just like I was his dad’s leader years ago. In fact, he was one of the boys we invited to our Blue and Gold Banquet a couple weeks ago. If I became a leader because I wanted thanks, it was for the wrong reason! Instead, I became a leader because I think Scouting is a fantastic program, with worthwhile activities to help boys become wonderful men!

  21. Mr. Lonco Avatar
    Mr. Lonco

    K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly) How about hooking up with another small troop or two. Meet at each others location from time to time. Plan activities together to keep cost down. This way all get the larger group advantages and yet keep your own troop in tack, while still recruiting. New recruits will see they should and always come first.

    Remember “Happy Scouting”

  22. James Walter Taylor Avatar
    James Walter Taylor

    The key question is not what the Scoutmaster has to say, but what the Chartered Organization wants to do – they “own” the unit. The committee owns the operation and management, the scoutmaster owns the teaching and activities.

    The Scoutmaster can certainly suspend meetings, particularly if he is stepping out of the Troop. Similarly, the Committee can suspend it’s operations, and discontinue trying to recruit new adult leaders, advancement and so on. The District membership chair and the Council District Executive should be on hand at that point to work with the Charter partner to rebuild the unit.

    In the end though, if the boys and the families want the Troop to continue, those parents need to step up and fill the positions.

  23. Joseph Johnson Avatar
    Joseph Johnson

    A Boy Scout troop is a good thing…

    You should do the following…

    1) Contact your district executive and ask for help saving your troop…

    2) Also go to round table and tell them your problem and double up camping trips with another troop..
    Their troop chooses the common camp outs so you lose some control.
    Your troop is too small to cheaply spread the cost of campouts.

    3) Give trophies, plaques, and Certificates Of Appreciation to your charter organization members.
    You need their loyalty and support.

    If you save a Boy Scout Troop is will be something to be proud of your entire lifetime.

  24. tammy Avatar
    tammy

    It would be great if our troop had 9 scouts..we are down to 4 and 3 of those don’t seem interested anymore but their parents are pushing them. One of the parents who is also ASM is bulling the SM(my husband) through texts and emails and just wants his son pushed through without doing anything. The troop has a history what doing that in the past and when the old scoutmaster died and we were asked to take over the CO and DE, and others asked us not to “pencil whip” the boys through as the troop had done before. So 2 years later we’ve had 3 Eagle, including our son, and are down to just a few. None of the boys want to be SPL or ASPL and our son(17) who was SPL has decided he wants to focus on Venturing. So this one parent has been bulling the SM to sign off on his son who had not played the bugle once since he become Bugler. After a heated meeting with an older troop member as a witness, and by heated I mean the parent was slapping his fists on the table, calling the SM a lair, etc. it came to light that they have had the burgle in the car all this time and thought that should count…even though he never played it at all during a meeting. And this isn’t the only time he’s bullied the SM trying to get his way. It’s been going on for a year. The SM is tired of the attitude in the troop from the parents and the youth, there is a troop down the hall in the church that is in the act of merging with a larger troop. We are going to start having meetings with them and doing campouts with them. The CO and De and Committee chair have all been notified of what is coming and they all seem to think it’s for the best as well. Those who are opposed to it were in the troop 20 years ago as the SM, he keeps citing the troop’s age…the current parents and youth could care less about the age, they want someone to babysit their kids for a few hours a week for free.

  25. RS Avatar
    RS

    Support for adult leadership is key in maintaining leadership and the structure of the troop, Explore both options but the first is a priority. The scouts are the driving force of each unit. Take them seriously, involve them in the recruiting process,and get the troop visible in the community. Last is key. Hold open events that are age appropriate and current, As the scouts will tell you… Nothing cringe… They know what will get friends excited. They can build your troop. YIIS She mom.

  26. George Avatar
    George

    A small troop like this can work only if there are enough adult leaders to support it. Maybe the scoutmaster is overwhelmed. Give him some help or recruit a new one. As long as the kids want to stay together and no one else quits, it sounds as though you have the base of a good troop. Also have them ask their friends outside of scouting now to join. I was at a troop that had 19 scouts when I joined and they now have 70!

  27. Edmund J Rainsford Avatar
    Edmund J Rainsford

    If the Committee cannot inject new life into the Troop, either by Scouts or Adults, then the Scouts should be encouraged to join another Troop as a Patrol and then assimilate..or, they could individually become “Lone Scouts”.
    Sometimes luff just doesn’t play out the way that a 11-15 year old wishes.
    This may just be their first difficult “life lesson”.

  28. Christopher Montgomery Avatar
    Christopher Montgomery

    I think one of the biggest issues not metioned by the concerned party is their willingness to do anything. They seem to want to put this on the Scoutmaster while completely missing the fact they could assume this role.

    I’ve been a Cubmaster for 5 years now and I have to say, parents need to understand their role in scouting and that it’s not the job of a volunteer that’s burnt out to keep things going. They need to step up and get involved as opposed to getting on forums asking why the poor guy that’s probably been asking for help finally said he’s done.

    Nonsense.

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